The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and sometimes referred to as the Washington Convention, was a treaty formed in 1973 with the main objective of regulating the trade and acquisition of wild animals and plants, and that they are not overly exploited to the point that endangers their existence and the ecosystems which they are derived from.

The treaty protects over 35,000 different species of Flora and Fauna, with 183 different parties signing and enforcing the implementation of this treaty. So far, it has helped in mitigating illegal trade and controlling over exploitation of various endangered species, ensuring the integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems and environment.

In January 2017, a new amendment was made to the treaty for the inclusion of several Dalbergia and Kosso species of plants, further regulating the trade and harvest of these trees. The implications of this move would come to impact several industries, and the guitar industry was one such that is currently facing the outcomes of this new regulation.

With a vast majority of rosewoods (Indian Rosewood, Madagascar Rosewood, Cocobolo) being widely favoured for their tonal qualities and beautiful grain patterns in the construction of guitars, the trade and sale of these rosewoods would now require additional paperwork in order for them to be sold across borders legally.

What does this mean for me?

While it does not affect musicians travelling with their instruments, it does however mean that for anyone selling these instruments across borders would require an export permit to be applied for. Depending on where you live, check with your local Customs authorities on the correct procedures in ensuring that all the paperwork is in order when you ship out.

All our CITES protected wood are registered with the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (or AVA), an agency that monitors and regulates the trade of any form of plant or animal material. Hence, Maestro instruments made from CITES protected wood will be issued with a CITES Export Permit when necessary.

All our CITES protected wood are legally acquired and are with complete documentation. Instruments made from these wood are issued with CITES Permit whenever necessary.

Here are the current list of tonewoods that we use that would require a CITES Export Permit:

  • Indian Rosewood
  • Senegal Rosewood
  • Cocobolo
  • Madagascar Rosewood
  • Bubinga species with the scientific names, Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii
  • Brazilian Rosewood (and a CITES “passport” which will be provided with the instrument)

Senegal Rosewood
(Pterocarpus Erinaceus)

(Dalbergia Retusa)

Madagascar Rosewood
(Dalbergia Baronii)

How long does it take to process a CITES Export Permit?

In Singapore, it generally takes about 3 to 5 working days to process a CITES Export Permit.

What do I do with the Export Permit?

When sending out the instruments, the CITES Export Permit will follow the instrument together with all the other relevant documents. Endorsement of the CITES Permit by the customs officer or the issuing office is required at the time of the shipment for the document to be valid.

For recipients, please check with your local customs authorities on the procedures for importing instruments with CITES Export Permit as it may vary from country to country. As a general rule, please inform your forwarder or carrier that your instrument comes with CITES Export Permit to ensure proper measures will be taken before it reaches the country of destination.

What do I need to do when importing instruments with CITES Export Permit?

Depending on the country of destination, customs authorities may require the importer to apply for an import permit using the scanned copy of the CITES Export Permit. An export permit is valid for 3 months thus applying for required paperwork must be done within that period to avoid any issue or delay.

What do I need to do when I resell my CITES protected instrument?

Generally, no action is required when selling within the borders of the country which the instruments are in. Only when instruments are exported out of the country would a new set of documents be needed to be applied for by the sender, and in some cases, also by the receiver.